Research explores study stress and poor sleep

Friday, 06 October, 2023

Research explores study stress and poor sleep

More than 50% of students are struggling with sleep as a consequence of exam study stress, a new study suggests.

The survey by mental health organisation ReachOut looked at over 1000 young people aged 16–25 years. It was conducted in August 2023, and looked at the specific impacts study stress was having on students’ sleep.

The data found that of the students who indicated that their sleep was impacted by study stress: 65% reported sleeping less, 59% had difficulty waking up, 57% said they were staying up late to study and 22% said they were sleeping more.

Other key findings from the research indicated that 88% of students felt stressed about study at some time over the previous 12 months, and 55% of students reported that they felt extremely or very stressed about study in the past two weeks.

In line with these findings, ReachOut has released new support for young people to help them get a good night’s sleep, as well as new information and tips for parents and carers of students.

Jackie Hallan, Director of Service at ReachOut, said that now was an important time for Year 12 students to focus on their wellbeing, including their sleep.

“ReachOut’s new research highlights the real impacts that study stress can have on the lives of students. Sleep, in particular, can be an important indicator of how the stress associated with Year 12 might be impacting a student’s wellbeing and mental health.

“Without a proper night’s sleep it may become even harder for Year 12 students to deal with stress and challenges. For example, although staying up late cramming before an exam can be well intentioned, it can have the opposite effect on exam results.

“With final Year 12 exams approaching, we want to remind young people to take a proactive approach to getting a good night’s sleep and to seek support if they need it. Simple things like waking up at the same time each day can make a big difference.

“Unfortunately, sleep isn’t always something that comes to mind when we think about getting support for our mental health and wellbeing. However, if sleep is a concern, ReachOut is a good place to start to get information, tips and hear about the experiences of students and parents. There is also a range of other support options for students including making an appointment with a mental health professional,” she said.

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